Space it right
A mystery that kept me in wonderment during my childhood days was the rhythmic gaps between the railings of a locomotive track. When it’s all supposed to a pair of straight lines, the purpose of a deliberate space between two blocks of rails was too overwhelming a puzzle for my little mind to comprehend. In a pre-internet era where “goggle a question” was still not an option, I had to wait till middle school before a considerate science teacher would unravel the secret of this disconnect to me. The heat generated during the summer days, the teacher explained, caused the iron rods to expand and these gaps provided the space for them to safely elongate. Without these gaps the rails would get buckled in and would seriously jeopardise the track. As the space between the rails are crucial, so also the need of it to be of an exact measure for, the teacher reasoned, any un-wanted space could equally be detrimental when trains passing over them could skid over on a slippery day. The space, and an exact one at that, made all the difference for a safe train journey.
The concept of right spacing finds definite expression in the growth and maturing of many species on our planet. When the saplings are planted uniformly with sufficient space for each one of them to strike root and branch out, they grow up to become fruit bearing trees. And when smaller plants are inter-spaced with bigger and larger ones, they nourish one another thus providing a rich and varied harvest. But when an odd tree grows up to a monstrous size by spreading it veins deep under the soil and suck out the nutrients all for itself, even blades of grass would scarcely sprout under it. It’s in the very nature of elements to flourish where the avenues to expand are abundant.
This significance of the space expands into the horizons of human affairs as well as to the words we use to convey them. With the right measure of freedom and the creative liberty to experiment and explore, we find our children grow up to become well-rounded human beings capable and willing to take responsibilities in life. Once the relationships with our children are based on sound emotional bonding and not separated by the gulf of selfish agendas and are nourished through proper ties, they would become priceless properties to be cherished for a life-time. And when we confer sufficient space for each one of them to grow, expand and express themselves in myriad ways, we could together find true happiness previously found nowhere, blossom now here. To be loved by our beloved ones we should bridge our hearts and soak them with and in true understanding so that our relationships shine forth within.
But such a freedom and liberty should be regulated and moderated through a benign form of discipline and restriction. While the goats and other cattle could mow down and eat up an unguarded and unfenced sapling, the same cattle would come back once the guarded sapling grows up to become a full grown tree seeking, this time, its shade and shelter for rest and re-past. In the same way, we need to guard and guide our children through appropriate moderations so that they grow up to become worthy citizens.
For all these to fructify, the right space is of utmost importance.